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How to Stay Focused on What You Want

career & business leadership & impact Aug 31, 2020

As you may know, I train and coach leaders and teams on topics such as mindset, resilience, and high performance. When I ask participants in my trainings how they are feeling, the most common answers I hear these days are “anxious” and “frustrated.” Perhaps you're also experiencing this downward shift in your mental, emotional, or physical state. Or, perhaps you are optimistic and feeling energized about future possibilities. 

The important thing for you to realize is that it isn’t so much the “changes” themselves that are causing the shift, it’s the meaning that you assign to these changes which dictates how you react and transition through them (e.g., your conscious or subconscious perceptions of potential threat, danger or loss). In other words, it’s your mindset about the changes that dictates how you feel and ultimately whether or not you succeed. 

How can you set yourself and others up for success? 

To best support yourself and your team through change, it is essential that you consistently focus on what you want (i.e., the desired future), rather than on what you don’t want (i.e., the current problem). This may seem obvious; however, we are biologically wired to give more of our attention and energy to our problems than to potential solutions, which leads to ongoing stress. And, this incoherent state inhibits our cognitive ability to access creative solutions to those problems.   

To help your team adapt better to change, take the time to inspire and guide them towards a clear, positive, and meaningful future vision. Paint a vibrant picture of the desired outcome (including what you will all see, hear, and feel when the organizational goal is achieved). You can also ask your team powerful questions like, "What if..." (e.g., "What if it was possible for us to achieve this goal?") to inspire new ideas. And, for some types of changes, it may be effective for you to let go of the ‘how’ and simply communicate ‘what’ needs to change. This focus on the outcome transfers ownership of the solution to your team, which naturally builds desire to support the change. This will motivate your team to want to align their personal goals to the bigger goals of the organization. Otherwise, they might resist the change and disengage.


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